The Leadership Team met on 29th January, the first time since we moved to our new structure within the Team. We were able to benefit from Patapon Monday’s work on financial matters and Cady Enoch’s work as Churchwarden, looking after issues related to our land in SL and our blog and FB page. ZoeRose Eiren took our minutes for the first time and gave us them very promptly, which has been very helpful.
Rua Elan (Patapon Monday’s treasurer alt) has now taken over completely from Tithe Sixpence as our treasurer. Patapon has been working on various kinds of analysis of our giving in order to give us a clearer picture of what is happening. We are, of course, extremely grateful for every Linden $ donated as we work towards paying our tier fee in June at the doubled rate. We can’t avoid the issue of money as our existence as a ministry depends on meeting our costs. There will be a full treasurer’s report on the blog shortly. Meanwhile, here is a basic outline of the situation.
We continue to receive three regular donations every month via Paypal with the rest of our income being received by in-world donation. Having had an excellent month in November when we exceeded our monthly target, both December and January showed a shortfall. In December we raised 87% of our needs and in January 81%. In January our monthly target amount was around L$82,000 but has been raised to around L$86,000 in February to account for the shortfall. We have currently gathered sufficient funds to pay 62% of our tier.
Fundraising is obviously something we need to consider if we are to meet our target. We have had an offer of help with fundraising in general, which we are following up. We have also arranged with Monty Merlin, one of the architects of the Cathedral, to have a firework display on 5th March to mark the fourth anniversary of the founding of the Cathedral. We hope this will be a wonderful celebration for the community as well as raising funds. We will have a DJ present and would be interested to hear of any further ideas which we could add to this event. It promises to be great fun – Monty’s fireworks are outstanding in quality!
Cady has been working hard to review all our settings and permissions on the sim and elsewhere. She has created documents explaining to the whole Team how to deal with griefers and how to use the estate management facilities. Cross training so that we are not dependent on one person to do everything is a priority for us and we will continue to work to raise the expertise of the Leadership Team.
The list of volunteers has been updated and permissions reviewed. We realise that some members of our community may be very active and take on roles for a period and then have other commitments which prevent them continuing to help on the sim. It makes sense to check if the list of volunteers is up to date. Those who are no longer active will be contacted personally to let them know what we are doing and how it will affect them.
There has been a lot of work done to update many of our documents and add more. We have a new notecard which gives information about our ministry. This can be accessed from various parts of the sim. Perhaps the easiest one to find is on the noticeboard to the right of the west door of the Cathedral. Do take a look as it’s much more comprehensive than before. We have written guidelines for Welcomers and for Worship Leaders and looked at the permissions given to each. Anyone hosting an event is given the power to eject and ban griefers, within our guidelines. Very experienced Welcomers may also be given this permission in order to act as a back up to members of the Leadership Team. We have reviewed what we expect of those who volunteer on the sim in various capacities. Work of this sort can take the Leadership Team a long time but once we have it in place it will be there for future reference.
We are very pleased to have two new volunteers helping on the sim. Denise Difference will begin to lead a Compline service at 6pm SLT from 6th February onwards. We have worked with Denise to help her prepare and will continue to support her as she leads, helping her to learn more as she is ready for it (there really is a lot to do in order to lead worship!). Wave Rodenberger is now a Welcomer on the sim, part of the team which offers hospitality to our visitors. If you would like to volunteer in some capacity, do contact Helene Milena or fill in a volunteer notecard on the sim.
We had a request to advertise events which were happening elsewhere in SL. We took the opportunity to look at our policy on this. Cady has created a new noticeboard by the Peace Garden to advertise events of this nature. The design of the original noticeboard in that area has been changed to match the new one. Work has also been going on to update the blog, so you will probably see some changes in the near future.
We have had a request to use our facilities from another ministry and are following that up. We have reviewed our guidelines for those sharing the facilities with us. No doubt once such a sharing arrangement gets underway there will be further adjustment needed in the light of experience. We recognise that we have a big sim and can easily share with others. We would be very happy to do so.
The Leadership Team now uses a new mechanism for communicating between meetings. This is proving very helpful, allowing us to store files, set diary dates and deadlines, have discussions and work on documents together. Keeping everything together rather than scattered is a great help in making the work of the Leadership Team simpler. We recognise that all Team members have commitments in RL also and anything that can make our work more efficient is to be welcomed.
The wish to have music in services has been mentioned often. In the early days of our services we did have streaming of music but it wasn’t always successful. We have now had an offer of streaming facilities which we are very grateful for. We are currently investigating the position with regard to copyright before taking up the offer. We had an excellent demonstration before our Team meeting and all agreed that this is really something we should introduce as soon as we can.
Last year we had a Lent course which seemed to be popular. It replaced the normal Bible Study on Sundays. Joyous Schism and Helene Milena are planning to look at various options for a course this year also.
We continue to give interviews and answer questions from many who are doing research into various aspects of SL. We may once again be available in-world for a seminar being given in April on virtual church. I have recently talked to students taking a religion and cyberspace course with the University of Wales, someone doing a distance learning course on media anthropology and another doing research into online counselling. We often find RL pastors and priests come to our sim wishing to find out what SL can offer in terms of ministering to people in Jesus’ name. It is very interesting indeed to be involved in this ministry.
We have missed seeing Charlie12string Lax around the sim as he has been ill over the Christmas period. He has not been able to lead Morning Prayer but seems to be recovering now and is beginning to lead again. Gareth Janus has been absent for a couple of weeks due to a family bereavement. We’ve missed Gareth’s ministry among us but recognise that this has been a difficult time. Gareth is back fully in the week to come.
Team meetings will be on the third Saturday of the month in March, May, July, September and November. If you have any matter which you would like the Team to consider, please let us know in time for it to be placed on the agenda. Simple matters can also be considered between meetings of course.
As usual, we are happy to receive any comments and suggestions you may have about our ministry.
Helene Milena – Lay Pastor